MLAs take a pay cut whilst civil servants to be given power to make our politicians’ decisions without them…

Yay, some actual news at last. Secretary of State Karen Bradley has announced in the Commons that MLA pay will fall in November from £49,500 to £35,888, in two stages. The first cut of £7,425 is to be followed by a £6,187 reduction three months afterwards.

She also said that “it would not reduce the allowance for staff as I do not think that MLAs’ staff should suffer because of the politicians’ failure to form an Executive.”

More materially, from a governance point of view, she is to bring in legislation empowering civil servants to get some the unfinished work down without a mandate from politicians who refuse to use their mandates to do it themselves.

So no endless elections to nowhere. And, erm, no direct rule. It’s a holding pattern which avoids the government having to spend the political capital it clearly no longer possesses and kicks the can not simply down the road, but into the long grass?

Not quite. She’s proposing that primary legislation is brought in front of the Commons in October “to set aside for a limited and prescribed period the legal requirement to propose a date for a further election.” How that squares with recent High Court judgements is another question.

And this is interesting too: “a functioning North-South Ministerial Council is vital to ensure NI makes the most of its unique position within the UK and in relation to Ireland.”

Kind of as you were then, but with the legal power of civil servants ensured enough to keep the lights on.


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